Congress has signaled it’s ready to tackle reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA), but a bill introduced last week in the US House of Representatives has NACAC and other education organizations concerned.
“While NACAC agrees that the HEA needs to be reauthorized, this bill goes about it in the wrong way,” Michael Rose, NACAC’s director for government relations noted in a press release. “After an initial review, it is clear this bill reduces or eliminates student protections against fraud and abuse, and further dilutes the federal contribution to improving access to postsecondary education.”
The association will issue a detailed summary of the bill in the weeks to come, but an early review of the legislation reveals several problematic provisions.
“(I)t’s clear that proposed reductions and modifications to student assistance programs will reduce supports for those seeking federal assistance to pay for college,” NACAC’s press release notes. “In addition, the legislation ignores prior instances of fraud and abuse within federal student aid programs—incidents that have cost taxpayers billions in lost federal aid funding over the last two decades and resulted in substantial harm to students.”
The HEA, created in 1965, is periodically reauthorized (on renewed), most recently in 2008. Before each reauthorization, Congress can choose to add new programs, change the policies governing existing programs, and make other changes.
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